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April : Referendum Bill Enacted

  • HM endorsed the Referendum Bill
  • Referendum campaign to be regulated by EC
  • Draft constitution booklets delivering to households
  • Soft drinks tax to revise according to sugar amount
  • Aids provided to 27 provinces affected from drought
  • Application for National Saving Fund to include weekend
  • Cabinet approved dual track rail lines construction
  • Personal income tax restructuring effective in 2017
  • Export growth still minus but improving
  • State buildings to change to LED light

    His Majesty endorsed the Referendum Bill

    On 22nd April, the Referendum Act was enacted after published in Royal Gazette website. The Act has 66 sections and grouped in 3 parts. Part 1, from section 8 to 12, is the publication and publicity of the draft constitution, and the polling procedures. Part 2, from section 13 to 54, is the voting and conducting a referendum, sub-divides into 9 subdivisions. Part 3 are the balloting and penalty.

    Noted should be on section 56 and 57 on penalty applicable to both state officials and persons interrupted a referendum. State officers facilitating any action that causes the balloting to unfairness or unjust are subject to a 1-10 years jail term, bath 20,000-200,000 fine and 10 years purge from election right. Interrupters to any referendum can be sentenced to a one year jail term and baht 20,000 to 200,000 fines. The penalty will be two-fold if the offense is physical or threatening.

    Referendum campaign to be regulated by EC

    On 29th April the Election Commission resolved to regulate the referendum campaign. There are 6 permissions and 8 prohibitions regarding to the draft constitution.

    The permissions are: To study the draft constitution and comment in mannerly phrases. All comments should be explicit without any distortion that could lead to misunderstanding or misrepresentation. When citing any academic research, references must be provided and re-checking its authenticity. Giving interview and expression for publicity are allows as well as re-loading other people comments on website and electronic media excluding no further comments.

    The prohibitions are: Giving interview on false information, in harsh, inciting or threatening words. Posting and sharing, falsified electronic information that could lead to incitement and violence. Presenting symbols that represent aggressiveness, violence, incitement or threatening. Organizing seminars, debates or discussions without representative from public agency, education institution and legitimate media agent and with intention to incite political movement. Persuading people to wear, tag, pin, use or selling or distributing goods that symbolize or representing any expression to incite political unrest. Using, making, distributing, providing pamphlets, brochures or leaflets containing fabricated, aggressive or indecent information or political incitement. Reporting or broadcasting programs that incite or create social unrest. Campaigning to motivate the society to believe or voting on certain thing or inciting people to impede the referendum.

    The regulations will be effective after publish in the Royal Gazette.

    Draft constitution booklets delivering to households

    On 27th April the Constitution Drafting Commissioner Mr. Supachai Yawaprapas said the draft constitutional is completed to be forwarded on 29th April to the Election Commission to be printed for delivering to 17 million households. Each copy has 6 pages of A4 size.

    Soft drinks tax to revise according to sugar amount

    On 26th April the National Reform Steering Assembly resolved with 153 to 2 and 6 abstained to submit the Public Health and Environment Committees proposal to the cabinet. The proposal is to re-tax retail soft drinks according to the amount of sugar contains.Rrational is to protect and control public risks from overconsuming of sugar or sweetening substances in soft drinks. Thailand ranks 9th among the most sugar consumers worldwide and spent enormous expenditure annually on public health cost on malnutrition.

    Soft drinks with 6-10 gram of sugar per 100 milliliter will be taxed at a maximum of 20% of their retail prices and those with more than 10 gram per 100 milliliter will be taxed at a maximum of 25%. It is estimated that the new tax will add more than baht 10 billion to the national revenue.

    Aids provided to 27 provinces affected from drought

    On 25th April, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation announced its accomplishment on the alleviation of 138 districts, 623 tambons, 4,984 villages in 27 provinces affected from drought. They equivalent to 6.65 % of villages countrywide. The aids were divided into water for consumption and agriculture use, 10 and 17 respectively.

    It was anticipated that the rainy season might starts later than normally June and the rain fall could be slightly more than average, too.

    Application for National Saving Fund extended to weekend

    On 23rd April the cabinet has revised the working hours for the application for National Saving Fund, previously from 08:30 to 19:30, to be in compliance with the banks office hours, therefore, the banks sub-offices in the commercial centers can provide services during the weekends. The new regulation shall be effective since 1st may, 2016.

    From August 2015 until 31st May 2016, there are a total of 417,460 members making a saving deposit baht 641,289,996. A baht 316,812,524 was added from the government contribution making a total saving baht 958,102,520.

    Cabinet approved dual rail lines construction

    thOn 26th April, the cabinet resolved to approve the bidding for a construction of the 167 km. dual track railway line between Prachuab Kirikhan and Chumporn provinces to be organized through e-auction. Total investment is baht 17,249.90 million through loan system. The procurement will start in May until August. Responsible agency is the State Railway of Thailand. Construction starts in September and finishes in 2020.

    The cabinet also approved in principle the construction of other two dual railway lines; 165 km. between Nakon Prathom and Hua Hin investment cost baht 20,145.03 million and 90 km. Hua Hin to Prechuab Kirikhan investment cost baht 10,301.95 million. Opening for bids are between June to September, construction can also starts in this October and finishes in 2020, too.

    Personal income tax restructuring effective in 2017

    On 19th April, the cabinet resolved to approve the Finance Ministry proposal to restructure the personal income tax rates for the 2017 tax year. The new rates are: ose submit their taxes in 2018 are entitled to a few new rates as follow:
    • 30% for annual income baht 2-5 million annually.
    • 35% for annual income more than baht 5 million.
    • Personal modulation increases to 50% of total income but not exceed than baht 100,000.
    • Private modulation increases to baht 60,000.
    • Offspring modulation increases to baht 30,000 per child and unlimited number.

    Export growth still minus but improving

    The Finance Ministry announced regardless to the 2016 export rate continues to minus, it is improving from last year and making the GDP to grow approximately 3.3%. Though the growth rate is slightly lower than an estimation of 3.7%, it is substantially increases from the 2.8% in the previous year.

    State buildings to change to LED light

    The Budget Bureau disclosed the Fund to Promote Energy Conservation has been allocated with another baht 4,275 million. Baht 3,101 million will be used in 17 programs to increase efficiency by replacing energy saving appliances and LED light bulbs in state buildings including hospitals and schools. Another baht 1,168 million is for 13 alternative energy programs. A sub-committee will be shortly appointed to monitor and evaluate the programs financial.

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